Blogs > Elm City to Eagleville

A blog on UConn women's basketball.

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Kiah Stokes thrilled to be back on court

This has not been the easiest of springs and summers for Kiah Stokes.

First came the surgery to repair a torn tendon in her right ankle followed by an arduous rehab process. Then, when she finally was able to walk without the aid of a protective boot in July none of her UConn teammates were on campus for her to work out with.

Stokes' world has returned to normal  on Tuesday as she took part in her first full-court basketball activity with her teammates since the Final Four loss to Notre Dame.

"It is good to be back," Stokes said. "I love playing with my teammates. When I was up here in the second summer session they weren't here so it was just me working out by myself. It is just good to be back in the team atmosphere again.

"Right now I am good. My legs are a little weaker but that is going to come back pretty fast. My (upper)
body is fine because that was the only thing I could lift for a few months."

Stokes couldn't pinpoint when she first injured her ankle although her mom said she began to complain about discomfort in the ankle after the Duke game. It was following the NCAA tournament game against Kansas State when the pain was the most intense. Still, Stokes thought all she needed was some rest and the ailing ankle would be fine. An MRI showed that surgery would be required.

"I didn't thik I'd have to have surgery. I thought I'd have to rest it for a week and I'd be fine. When they said surgery I was shocked, I didn't expect it."

Not accustomed to being a patient, Stokes admits she was frustrated at the slow pace required to recover from the surgery.

"I was really mad," Stokes said. "I just wanted to keep pushing it further. I felt fine when I walked around without my boot on although I wasn't supposed to. I was in the training room one day and I went to grab a pair of scissors. I didn't have my boot on and one of the trainers got mad and said 'are you supposed to be walking?' I said 'no, but it is just like three feet.' They said 'no, sit down and I will get it.' It was annoying like that and I just couldn't do what I wanted to do even if I felt like I could. In the end they were looking out for my ankle and I respect that but at the time it was annoying and I didn't like it at all."

Stokes, who knows she had an inconsistent freshman season, is determined to be a day in and day out impact player and the memories of the loss to the Fighting Irish serves as motivation.

"Last season did not end the way I wanted it to," Stokes said. "That is always going to be there. I don't want the season to end like that. We want to prove to ourselves, prove to our coaches and our teammates that we are not going to just sit on the bench. We are definitely a part of this team and definitely can make a difference on this team."

With the transfers of Lauren Engeln to Boston College and Michala Johnson to Wisconsin and graduation of Tiffany Hayes, UConn will once again have an 11-player roster. However, unlike a season ago when UConn often relied on seven or eight-player rotations, the feeling is that this year all 11 players could see regular action.

"It is going to be fun," Stokes said. "We have so many different lineups that we can go to . Practices are going to be so competitive which I think will help us so much in the long run if we are all competing very day every minute in practice I think it will help a lot."


Anonymous Bill Ryan said...

Despite all the hype, I just don't see UConn in the NC game. 2 seniors who will not be in the top 3 in scoring. A 3rd senior who will not see much playing time. A lawsuit hanging over Geno. And more importantly the competition is getting better.

8:38 PM 

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